Portrait of Joseph  Williams

Name: Joseph Williams

Burial Number: 1126

Gender: Male

Occupation: Composer and Music Publisher

Distinction: Composer/Music Publisher

Born: 00/00/1848

Died: 12/07/1923

Buried: 14/07/1923


Joseph was born in Dalston, Hackney, the son of Joseph William and Sarah. He was baptised at St Philip’s Church, Dalston on 1st October1848. His father was a music publisher running a firm founded by his mother Lucy Williams, a music and copperplate printer in 1808. As a young man, Joseph was sent to Germany to study music. On 27th August 1870, he married Emily Gurney Norminton at St Mary’s Church, Hornsey Rise. The couple lived in St Pancras. When his father died in 1883, Joseph took over the running of the music publishing company, now called Williams and Son. By now, Joseph was composing music for comic operas and operettas under the pseudonym “Florian Pascal”. (see music biography and obituary below). Joseph’s two eldest sons followed him into the business forming a family company in 1900. After the First World War, Joseph and Emily lived in Guildford. In February 1923. they moved to Worthing as Joseph’s health was declining. He died at home on 12th July 1923. Probate was granted on 22nd October to Emily Williams widow, Emily Maud Mary Williams spinster, Herbert Ridsdale Outram solicitor and Charles James Dixey chartered accountant. Effects £20371 3s 1d.

Researcher: Carol Sullivan

The Grave

Photograph of headstone for Joseph  Williams

Location in Cemetery

Area: SWS Row: 9 Plot: 21

Exact Location (what3words): prom.pops.belong

Ashes or Urn: Unknown



No description of the headstone has been added.


In loving remembrance of Joseph Benjamin Williams who passed peacefully away on 12th July 1923 in his 74th year "Only a little while love and we shall meet again" Reunited 2nd June 1938 Emily Gurney Williams his beloved wife in her 89th year R.I.P.

Further Information


Name: Joseph Benjamin Williams

Gender: Male

Born: 00/00/1848

Town: Dalston

County: Middlesex

Country: England


Maiden Name: Not applicable

Marriage Date: 27/8/1870

Spouse First Name: Emily

Spouse Second Name: Gurney

Spouse Last Name: Norminton

Town of Marriage: Hornsey

County of Marriage: Middlesex

Country of Marriage: England

Information at Death

Date of Death: 12/07/1923

Cause of death: Unknown

Address line 1: 17

Address line 2: Cowper Road

Town: Worthing

County: Sussex

Country: England


Worthing Herald 21st July 1923

“A Musical Composer”

Death and Funeral of Mr J B Williams

The funeral took place at Heene Cemetery on Saturday of Mr Joseph Benjamin Williams, who passed away at his residence 17 Cowper Road, Worthing on Thursday last week. Mr Williams who was 75 years of age was a well known musical composer and was head of the firm of London music publishers Joseph Williams Ltd. When quite a young man he resided at Stuttgart and Leipzig, where he continually saw the great Richard Wagner. Later he studied music there under Edouard Tod, Lebert and Goltermann. A number of his operas under the name of “Florian Pascal” were produced in London during the “80’s” and many of the older school may remember the success of “Cymbia” or “The Magic Thimble” his burlesque, “The Vicar of Wide-Awake-Field” and many others. He came to live in Worthing about six months ago owing to his health.

By request the funeral was of a private character, the only mourners being deceased’s three sons, Mr Florian Williams, Mr Ralph Williams and Mr Archibald Williams. There were several floral tributes from friends in London and Worthing.

Personal Effects

Money left to others: £20371 3 s 1 d

Current value of effects: £836410.00

Census Information


Shrubland Grove, Dalston

Joseph aged 34, music seller. Sarah aged 31. Ellen aged 6. Ann aged 4. Joseph aged 2. Jessie aged 1. Caroline aged 30, sister. Plus 1 servant.


In Germany.


5 Crescent Place, St Pancras.

Joseph B aged 21, publisher. Emily G aged 22. Plus 1 servant.


32 St Augustine’s Road, St Pancras.

Joseph B aged 31, music publisher. Emily aged 31. Florian aged 2. Evelyn aged 1 month. Caroline Shimmels aged 59, aunt. Plus 2 servants.


2 Mill Vale, Bromley.

Joseph aged 42, musician, publisher. Emily aged 42. Emily aged 19. Edith aged 18. Ralph aged 10. Mary Norminton aged 46, sister-in-law. Plus 2 servants.


Verulanium House, St Alban’s Road, Watford.

Joseph aged 52, music publisher. Emily aged 52. Emily aged 29. Florian aged 21, music publisher. Ralph aged 20, music publisher. Plus 3 servants.


Spring Mount, Chelston, Torquay.

Joseph aged 62, composer of music. Emily aged 62. Emily aged 39. Archibald aged 18, law student. Plus 1 servant.


Living at Hannercombe, Bell Road, Haslemere, Surrey.

Joseph Benjamin Williams
Male 1848 73 Dalston, London, England Music & Book Publishing Managing Director & Composer Joseph Williams Limited Employer
Emily Gurney Williams
Female 1849 72 Brentford, Middlesex, England Home Duties
Emily Maud Mary Williams
Female 1871 50 Camden Town, London, England Home Duties
Harriet Warber
Female 1875 45 Harlow, Essex, England General Domestic Servant Cook

Miscellaneous Information

  • Music Biography of Joseph Benjamin Williams who composed under the name of “Florian Pascal”

Information taken from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Gilbert and Sullivan Archive and The Era, London.

Joseph took over the music publishing firm of Joseph Williams Music in 1883. it had been founded by his grandmother Lucy in 1808 and continued by his father. As a young man, he had lived in Germany and studied music under Edouard Tod, Lebert and Goltermann. Back in England he composed around 200 songs, comic operas and operettas under the pseudonym “Florian Pascal”. In 1883, Cymbia was performed at The Royal Strand Theatre in London. He followed that with “The Vicar of Wide-Awake-Field” at The Gaiety Theatre in 1885 and continued with several more shows in London and the provinces. According to the Gilbert and Sullivan Archive, when the score for Gilbert’s “Eyes and No Eyes” was lost, a new score was composed by Florian Pascal.

The publishing company was run by Joseph’s sons for a short while before it was turned into a limited company in 1900. The company continued to be run by the family until 1961. Later it was taken over by Stainer and Bell who still publish Joseph William’s work today.

1883: Cymbia or The Magic Thimble. Royal Strand Theatre 24 March.

1885: The Vicar of Wide-Awake-Field. Gaiety Theatre 8 August.

1887: Gipsy Gabriel. Theatre Royal, Bradford 3 November.

1890: Tra-La-La Tosca. Royalty Theatre 9 January.

1896: The Black Squire. Torquay 5 November.

1897: The Golden Age. Savoy Theatre 5 July.

In 1885, Joseph wrote songs for a burlesque called “Little Jack Shepherd”. One of the songs called “Botany Bay” became very popular especially in Australia where it is still performed today. There are two versions on YouTube, one sung as a shanty and the other performed as a ballad by Andre Rieu and his orchestra on his Australian tour.